FRIDAY 30 MARCH
Shooting: Act One, Duke Box Dance
6:30AM - Finally on the tube heading out west towards Uxbridge, where I shall be picked up and taken to Pinewood Studios to re-create the role of Angelo in the filming of AMP's The Car Man.
Laid awake last night worrying that I would oversleep and hold everyone up.
So far I am making good time for the first day's shooting.
As it turns out, most of the women take around 2 hours in make-up (much to most of the boy's dismay and jealousy) and the production runs behind schedule by 4 hours!
During a week's rehearsal prior to shooting, we managed to establish a style of acting that would serve the purpose of television. Not to mention re-learning and clarifying the choreography, so as to be able to repeat, as necessary, from any given point with exactly the same timing!
I am told that the first day 'on set' is always the worst.....and I have to agree. You stand around all dressed up trying to maintain your character, staring into the darkness in front of you, looking out for the man in the headphones who goes by the name 'Floor Manager', to tell you what's going on and where we are going from. All the time trusting that you are not looking and sounding like a complete fish out of water and that somehow it all looks marvelous down a digital beta widescreen camera lens....! So far I have little proof and am performing on a wing and a prayer.
I did however manage to break the ice by hitting the deck rather spectacularly on the first camera rehearsal, completely confusing the cameramen, who asked me whether I would be falling over in exactly the same place in each take! I was then picked up on my 'hat continuity', a small factor considering I was having difficulty standing up. It can only get better....
WEDNESDAY 4 APRIL
Shooting: Act Two, Creepy duet/beginning of fight
The film set is feeling more like a second home or even a new home, considering the amount of time we spend on it. People are feeling more relaxed now and I am managing not to fall over.
Today we began on Act Two, which was lucky because after four days on Act One, and what with shooting much of it out of sequence, there is only a certain amount of longing, uncertain and hurt looks that one can do!
I got to fire my own gun, which I shamelessly must admit to enjoying - the immediate power and responsibility, constantly under the beady eyes of the Armourer who, incidentally I learned, worked on Eastenders and was the hand that pulled the trigger on Phil Mitchell. Walked around for the rest of the day with the knowledge that I knew what 2 million viewers were dying to find out....
Word is good, even though we are a little behind schedule.
The American producer asked me to do the introduction for the cable channel Trio, to be shown with the film's American release. Need to be shot by Friday?
Tomorrow we are repeating much of what we have already shot over the past few days but 'picking it up' with a camera mounted on a crane.
THURSDAY 5 APRIL
Shooting: Act One/Act Two (crane shots)
A change in schedule today, as well as everything else planned, we shot the end fight scene. Loads of blood everywhere....great fun! Then from that, a quick clean-up, shower and shave and into Act One. 'Rita and Angelo duet'.
Very tiring day both mentally and physically.
Learnt a new card game after venturing into the mayhem the other boys call their Dressing Room. The game is called Queenie, a card game suitably named and played for ten pence pieces.
SATURDAY 7 APRIL
Shooting: Act One, murder/end of Act One
Caught a glimpse of actress Angelina Jolie getting into her Land Rover today. Gave me a little thrill and a secret smile because we were working at the same film studios (albeit on a low budget dance production for TV, while she is working on a multi-million dollar, action-packed Hollywood movie about a computer game!). But we all have to begin somewhere and I have to admit that I am really enjoying the 'filming process' so far.
TUESDAY 10 APRIL
Shooting: Act Two, Prison Solo/Club
Worked late last night on Solo so as to get everything back on schedule - v.tired this morning.
Sets are looking fantastic, everyone working really well together, company and crew really working as a team.
Wardrobe have been taking continuity pictures for costumes and have pinned them all up on the wall outside the studio. The display is brilliant and very funny, as most go from rigid first day, serious character portrayals to something you would expect to see in a circus! There are even shots with very little costume in at all, entitled 'Have a ball' and 'Sex Doll', need I say more....!
Tightened awareness of personal belongings as Scott and Etta's credit cards got stolen.
Channel 4 photographer on set.
The next few days are going to be tough for me as we are in the Prison set-up and it is one of the only times we are shooting in sequence.
We are now able to watch playback on the floor monitor, enabling us to see how our performances are coming across.
I am very impressed with my facial scar, Make-up are very good and a lovely bunch to work with.
Alan came out of an immensely intense game of Queenie with the several time rollover of 24!
( I ended up owing about 5 !).
THURSDAY 12 APRIL
Shooting Act Two, 'Car Shag'/Car Chase/Lover's Lane
Today has a real buzz about it as we all know it's the last day's filming - a mixed feeling of sadness and glee at not having to wake-up at 6am every morning.
We have three amazing original American cars on set for the 'Lover's Lane' sequence and the graphically named 'Car Shag' scene.
Typically today is the day my parents have decided to come on set. Full of admiration and hoping to see evidence of all the expensive training I've had, they get to watch me give Alan a big sloppy kiss after a romp in the back seat of a highly polished Cadillac....as they say, 'there's no business like show business....!'
My highlight of the day was when I actually got to watch the 'Car Chase', a truly filmic moment with lighting effects, dry ice, industrial fans and bin bags full of leaves being blown all over the set to create the effect of speed as the cars 'raced' by.
Everyone sighed a huge sigh of relief when we were told that it was 'in the can' and 'that's a wrap ladies and gentlemen'.
Even though we had run several hours over, the producers put on free champagne and beer (some of which I am sure was opened and drunk ahead of time....) so that we could have a drink and watch the set being taken down around us.
One of the most wonderful things about working with a company like AMP is that you can always guarantee a good party after the whole thing's ended, whatever it may be. So sure enough, I found myself running halfway across the lot to catch a coach to take us to a designated North London party destination!
As for the filming experience, it is truly another medium to working live on stage and one which I intend to pursue and learn more about. I only hope that this experience of working with such a great cast and crew is not the only one of its kind.
| THE CAR MAN
A FILM DIARY BY WILL KEMP
Will Kemp, who created the role of Angelo in the original stage version of The Car Man, re-creates his role for the Channel 4 film and shares extracts from his diary with AMPLIFIER, whilst on set at Pinewood Studios.